Monday, December 13, 2010

STARS COME OUT FOR PBA WIVES & ORPHANS



Sofia Coppola



SOMEWHERE -- Remember the penultimate scene in Sofia Coppola’s Lost In Translation, when the two leads, played by Bill Murray and Scarlet Johansson are saying their final goodbyes; and, Murray’s character leans over and whispers something in Johansson’s ear? For this writer, that scene was forever etched into my mind. It remains, I think one of my best movie moments ever. Exactly what he said, as far as I know, has never been properly answered, but, the mystery of the moment was a delicious monument in movie-dom for many; let’s face it, brilliantly conceived and written too … right? Coppola’s newest movie Somewhere I had the pleasure of catching an early screening over the weekend and I came away from it as delighted as I well with her last one. The plot is not as readily discernible as it was in Translation, but, suffices to say it is a, movie about a father and daughter, who re-connect after a period apart. The main character (an action movie star with a new movie to promote called Berlin Agend) really behaves quite normally; you do like him and cheer for him; but, every time someone asks him who Johnny Marko is, he cannot answer. He may be a success on the outside; but, inwardly, he is suffering a loss of purpose. The two characters, Johnny and Cleo essayed by Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning are simply sensational. In a delightful Q&A after the screening, both actors were exceptionally focused about everything from why they chose these roles, and, to how they set about creating a back-story for each of the characters. Dorff, who has been in movies with everyone from Jack Nicholson to Wesley Snipes was very eloquent and intelligent with each of his comments. I always liked him, but hearing his method of approaching a role was positively compelling. Coppola has always impressed me as one singular talent; clearly, growing up with a father likes hers was certainly different than most, but she has, with her last and now this movie, carved out a quite nice niche for herself. Yes, idiosyncratic for sure, but, spot-on terrific. She may not now have the commercial cachet of, say a Christopher Nolan, but, I predict her major movie moment is getting closer and closer. She knows her craft. A good portion of the movie was shot in L.A. at the infamous Chateau Marmont hotel, which itself is a protagonist in the movie. I’ve stayed there and can attest to the odd-reality of each and every scene there. It’s definitely a hotel, but you can check in there and stay six months. The party and idyllic atmosphere is evident everywhere in the place; from the parking lot; to lobby; to the restaurant; and, the pool, is accurately depicted. As The Eagles once sang: you can check out, but you can never leave! Each and every scene is so totally real that it’s at times somewhat disarming. Boy, Sofia, like her Dad Francis, knows how to make a movie! Thanks to Jason at Focus for setting this up for us.


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Robert DeNiro


PBA XMAS – This weekend was the annual PBA Wives & Orphans event at Bridgewater’s at South Street, and it was another stellar event. Robert DeNiro; Toni Sirrico (The Sopranos); Chuck Zito; Colin Quinn; Tony LoBianco; and, Lon Van Eaton were the featured guests. The PBA, with Patrick Lynch and Al O’Leary hemming the event, first started as an annual Holiday event, but after the tragic events on 9/11, it evolved into its current form. I’ve been going for about 8 years now and hearing the stories of what happened on that day still moves me. Some of the kids I first met in 2001 are 9 years old now and though their memories of that day are fading, they’ve developed into terrific kids. It’s always an honor to attend this. It was great to talk to Van Eaton, who with his brother Derrek, signed to The Beatles’ label Apple Records in 1972 and released the terrific album Brother, featuring the single “Sweet Music.” Adds Lon, “We had flown to England, ushered into a waiting limousine and driven to Harrison’s estate, Friar Park. As we walked in, there on the lawn were George and Klaus Voorman singing our songs. It was amazing, to say the least.” Lon has returned to the music side with his conception and development of Livies (Live Interactive Visual Immersion Entertainment Shows)… and, according to his spokesperson will be back here next month for a series of auditions. Can’t wait to see his concept in action. Many thanks again, to Mary Grant at the PBA for her stellar efforts in always getting us there.


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Blind Spots


BLIND SPOTS – Writer John Domenico was born in 1952, raised in a Roman Catholic, Italian-American household. Indoctrinated with ideas that an all-knowing, wrathful God, sat on a throne in Heaven watching over the Universe waiting to judge the good and evil, he enrolled in Queens College and met the girl who would later become his wife, as well as songwriting partner. He tried to seek a career in rock ‘n roll, but soon surrendered that dream, as he married, raised a family, and joined the 40-hour work week. He also set out on a journey to embrace spirituality and ultimately to denounce his organized religion. Domenico’s new book Blind Spots (Outskirts Press) successfully encapsulates these beliefs … and, changes. It’s a stoic, sobering read; although his writing style does bring forth manyl humorous moments bring great joy. As many of us approach that 50+ field, this book is a solid fit and a terrific read. Would this book make for a substantial movie … definitely! I loved it! Check out www.outskirtspress.com.

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